The Hashable Pivot

We've invested in a few pivots over the years. Twitter is the one that immediately comes to mind. But we invested post pivot there. Return Path's pivot from email change of address to email deliverability happened after my investment and it is a real success story that Matt should blog about (or write a book about because it is a long story).

We've got a pivot in action in our portfolio right now called Hashable.

Hashable is "the ultimate networking app. Exchange business cards, make easy intros and 'check-in' with people to track meetings and calls." If you want to try it out, you can get the iPhone app here, the Android app here, or the web app out here.

Hashable started out as Tracked.com which I blogged about in Oct 2009. Tracked was a competitor to Yahoo Finance and Google Finance. It had a bunch of improvements over both services but it never gained traction. In the winter/spring of 2010, after trying for about six months to launch Tracked.com, the team decided to mothball Tracked.com, which is still live, and focus elsewhere.

The founder, Mike Yavonditte, cut his team down to about five or six people, took the burn way down, and brought in a few new product people (Emily, Teddy, Dave and Oz). Together they thought about different problems that had yet to be solved on the Internet as well as new tools and techniques that were available to them.

The "new tools" they focused on were Twitter, hashtags (that's where the name comes from), checkins, and the social web. The problem they wanted to solve was creating a better database of business connections, based on real world interactions (doing an intro, meeting someone, exchanging business cards, a meal, a meeting, etc). Just like Foursquare allows you to build a database of places you've actually been to, Hashable allows you to build a database of people you've actually met or are going to meet.

They launched a web version of Hashable invite only in the fall of last year and got a very active user base very quickly. The leaderboards and social interactions worked very well. But they also got a lot of feedback on the privacy model. It turns out most people don't want to share their business meetings and business intros publicly. And most importantly, they figured out that Hashable was a mobile first, web second application.

So back to the drawing board one more time. Over the winter, they rebuilt the app, went from default public to default private, and built two awesome mobile apps.

And now, just in time for SXSW (the ultimate networking event) they have launched Hashable (the ultimate networking app). I suggest getting one of the two mobile apps if you have an iPhone or Android and giving it a spin. If you are going to SXSW, you will see Hashable in action.

I'm a big believer in using real world interactions to build a social graph that reflects your real relationships. That in a nutshell is what Hashable is all about. Give it a spin and let me know what you think.



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Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan

    That’s more than a pivot. That’s a complete jump in a completely new direction.Luckily, this is the NBA.

    1. David Navarrete

      Have to agree. A pivot to me is tweaking a product to change focus but remain in the same sector.To each their own. Pivoting does make for a more compelling story.

      1. ceonyc

        That (tweak in same sector) is not what I call a pivot either. I’d call a fullblown redo a pivot as well.

        1. Jesse Middleton

          I would argue that in a way they are still going after the same end goal. With Tracked it was all about providing all of the information on the planet about what’s going on with the people/companies you’re tracking. Now with Hashable, they can that a lot better.Think about when the CEO/CFOs of public companies start tracking their interactions on Hashable. Now instead of just showing some Google News along with a stock chart you could see (if you were privileged enough I assume) the other companies/people they were working with in real time (e.g. President of Coke buys #coffee for the president of Pepsi). This is a hell of a lot more interesting than some simple stats about the company’s quarterly earnings report.

          1. andyswan

            I think you’re missing the part where public company CEOs have assistants and don’t want people knowing who they are meeting with.

          2. Jesse Middleton

            But remember, that’s today’s world, not necessarily tomorrow’s.

          3. JohnExley

            But remember, you can still get the same value out of Hashable when choosing to use it privately, you know?I do agree it will be more difficult to win those users, but I think there’s a ton of value to it with the added privacy layer for super-important people like them…

          4. andyswan

            I’m not talking about the value of hashable, just reacting to the examplegiven.

          5. CJ

            So true, half the time they don’t want their own co-workers knowing. That’s a big problem we face at work today.

          6. ShanaC

            I wouldn’t do that considering there is still a feed. One of the reasons for the second pivot was privacy. For whatever the reason, there are people like me out there who don’t want to be exposing this information

    2. fredwilson

      what is a pivot? both twitter and return path were full blown redos as well

      1. andyswan

        Just as in the NBA, the definition of “pivot” changes with how good you are.That’s why you invest in winners and teams, not just ideas.

    3. reece

      I like to call it a “triple-jump.”As in, let’s run as fast as we can, touch down on a couple spots quickly, then splash into new territory.I swear… the analogy works.

      1. andyswan

        Problem is I know quite a few guys that have been jumpin across hot coalsfor the last 15 years LOL

        1. reece

          haha.that’s why it’s a triple jump… you either land and stick it or drown inthe quick sand.ok… i’m stretching it a bit, but we can roll with it πŸ˜‰

  2. Kate Huyett

    Hashable’s pivot took me from a position of totally not understanding it (“why would anyone use this?”) to being an evangelist. A few of the main things:1. Hashable’s built-in β€œDid you connect?” email is a great prompt for thanking/following up with people that have made introductions. Think there is more room for this feature (check in again 2 or 3 months down the line to see if follow-up was completed, etc).2. Hashable has huge potential for is people in the midst of career changes or even role changes within an existing career. Networking is the critical component of that process and I think Hashable is uniquely positioned to capitalize on that with this pivot.3. Atul Gawande in his book, Better, says β€œif you count something you find interesting you may learn something interesting.” There’s a lot of truth to that. LinkedIn counts connections but Hashable counts something far more valuable: how you use and nurture those connections.4. There is a TON of room for this product to grow and evolve without necessarily becoming much more complicated to use, and that’s really exciting — especially because the team at Hashable seems like exactly the right team to execute it.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      What’s cool about Hashable is the tie in of connections in real life.

      1. awaldstein

        Real life is what needs to be organized…no?

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Sure.

    2. fredwilson

      yavonditte is going to love this comment Kate

  3. Dave Pinsen

    This might be the first time I’ve used one of your portfolio company products before reading about it on your blog. I’d heard of Hashable (via Twitter), but finally signed on a couple of weeks ago when someone used it to make an intro to me. In that case, I ended up just calling the person I was getting introduced to, since I hadn’t heard back via Hashable after a couple of days, but I can see Hashable becoming more useful as it gets more widely adopted.Interesting that this came from Tracked. I never saw a compelling reason to switch to that fromYahoo! Finance.

    1. Mark Essel

      I was surprised by the backstory as well. Interesting to see that founders can raise enough cash to kill a product and reinvent another without needing to close down the business and start over.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        It’s like having mulligan money.

        1. fredwilson

          that’s a great phrase. i’ll be using it dave. hope you don’t mind

          1. Mark Essel

            Dave’s got poetic descriptive skill.

          2. fredwilson

            and a very perceptive mindhe’s on to me. i gotta be very careful!

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Not at all. Glad to add something to the AVC lexicon.

        2. Mark Essel

          there’s FU money, then there’s Mulligan Money. That one’s stuck in my head now.

      2. fredwilson

        that’s because Yavonditte is a serial entrepreneur going back to Juno in the mid 90s, has a great track record, and made a very big hit with Quigo’s sale to AOL a few years ago

        1. Mark Essel

          Can’t beat the power of rep and a successful track record.Exitless founders have to fail for free til they get on base. Teaches us discipline.

          1. fredwilson

            it is everything

          2. andyswan

            Such a great comment Mark.

    2. fredwilson

      you are moving faster and faster. soon you’ll build something that i will talk about on this blog.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Doubtful.

        1. Mark Essel

          Bonus points for that product to be meta avc community and a ridiculous inside joke, so when Fred brings it up we cough up soda through our nostrils.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Why would I waste my time building something you’d consider a joke, Mark?

          2. Mark Essel

            one guy’s joke is another guy’s incredibly viral breakout. I wouldn’t let comedy get in the way of progress.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I just lol’d – and now I realized I’m procrastinating from work. Back at it. πŸ™‚

        1. Dave Pinsen

      3. Dave Pinsen

        You could have mentioned Portfolio Armor when you talked about hedging on MBA Mondays. You liked the UI, Howard Lindzon commented on here that it was a great idea…

        1. fredwilson

          yes i could havesorry that i missed that opportunity

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Speaking of which, did you ever get a chance to try the iPhone version of Portfolio Armor? If not, here’s a promo code for you: NPW6ENF66X6KRecord month for sales of that app so far (albeit, from a very low base).

  4. awaldstein

    “Hashable allows you to build a database of people you’ve actually met or are going to meet.”Massive market, if only in the events field. A lot of people are trying to solve this simply by using QR codes and readers. A bit funky.Maybe this is a solution. I’ve sent the link to a bunch of event organizer friends to see what they think.

    1. Kate Huyett

      Disagree that this is only massive in the events field — though obviously that market is huge. I suspect there are applications in hiring/recruiting and potentially some non-event enterprise applications like sales.

      1. awaldstein

        Not suggesting that this is the ‘only’ segment, just one that jumps out and is top of mind today.Often though a good place to get things started. Dense social environments with many touch points are perfect launch pads. Likewise the SXSW intro for them and many other apps.

        1. Kate Huyett

          Ah — understood, and agree with your logic. Thanks for clarifying!

      2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        IT ONLY HUGE WHEN CRITICAL MASS OF PEOPLE WITH HASHABLE PRESENT.OUTSIDE OF VALLEY, NY, THAT ONLY HAPPEN AT EVENTS.

        1. CJ

          Not true, when you have a critical mass of people who manage a multitude of relationships, that’s just as good as an event full of people.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ONLY TO POWER USER. NOT TO AVERAGE USER.ADOPTION REQUIRE WORK FOR AVERAGE USER.

          2. CJ

            That’s true. Power users often herald the coming of the average user though, if you can get the power users on board success will often follow.

    2. fredwilson

      i never thought of that. great application for hashable

      1. Mark Essel

        Also great Hashable and Meetup synergies

        1. awaldstein

          The intersection of density of people and a focused interest graph is the formula here.

          1. markslater

            hmmm – but how do you make the leap from interest to purchase? because thats where the money is. Harness someone’s purchasing gestures within a shared (albeit more tightly controlled) environment and facilitate real time matching…..and then repeat…..

          2. Kate Huyett

            think there are a few options within this conteston the user side, among other things I would, for example, pay to be able to set up a “to-do” list of people for events (who is there that I *should* meet (connections of connections)), to be able to get access after the fact to the list of all the connections made at the event, see posts that were put up by people that were at the event, get a consolidated twitter history of the event including the connections, etc.On the event organizer side, one thing I’d be really interested in how effective my conference/event actually was in promoting interaction. TechCrunch50 versus LAUNCH? Where did people meet more potential hires, investors, partners — just look on Hashable.

          3. awaldstein

            There’s no formula.Each situation has its own dynamics and not ever situation necessarily has a natural commerce model that works.

    3. ceonyc

      The problem in the events space is that no one wants to really pay for any tools that don’t have ticket price or sponsorship ROI. Yes, it would work and it’s a problem that needs to be solved, but working with event organizers–large scale ones anyway–is super difficult. Not many successful companies have been built on the backs of events in conjunction with the organizers.

      1. awaldstein

        True…but times are changing or more true, have changed.We move from one event to another to another. So do millions of other people and the need for connecting and parsing contact info is limitless and becomes more germane daily.The other thing to realize is that you don’t need the organizers as a partner to be successful, you need to create value across the attending population. The goal is early community and the denser the group, the tighter the ‘interest graph’, the more natural the connection may be for adopting en masse a product like Hashable.I knew that some marketing would creep into this discussion πŸ˜‰

        1. ceonyc

          I agree that you don’t need them… Twitter, GroupMe, and Foursquaredon’t… but it would grow faster if they did officially adoptit–especially outside of the tech world… and if you wanted that to be aviable revenue stream.

          1. awaldstein

            Maybe…I don’t think that social marketing thinking is confined to the ‘tech’ world which I think is becoming less and less a category in my mind.As an example, I move in the wine blogging world as a passion and hobby. The industry isn’t technically sophisticated (yet) but the bloggers and wine drinkers as a slice of the world’s population are carrying smartphones, use FourSquare and on and on. I’ve already sent the Hashable idea to an organizer of a running series of wine blogger events.Could work in real estate, fitness, fashion. Gatherings promote sharing and tools to do so are needed.And this is not about revenue to me, at first, it is about community building.

          2. fredwilson

            And kik. Pimping the portfolio!

      2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        EVENTS AND EVENT ORGANIZERS A TOXIC SPACE, EVERYONE STARVING FOR CASH, TRAPPED IN OBSOLETE MODELS, TOO TERRIFIED TO INNOVATE.JUST LIKE MUSIC NOT NEED MUSIC INDUSTRY ANY MORE, SOCIAL NETWORKING AT EVENTS NOT NEED EVENTS ANY MORE.EVENT JUST ESTABLISH TIME AND LOCATION. HUMANS DO REST ON OWN. NO WAY FOR EVENT TO MONETIZE THAT.

        1. awaldstein

          Social networking not needing the event itself…exactly. My point, but you said it better in ALL CAPS.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            SOMETIMES WRITE LIKE DUMB DINO MAKE SMART IDEA MORE SIMPLE.'<

    4. Anthony Nicalo

      Wondering if you could use it to connect offline objects or locations in the same way QR codes and readers are attempting. For example, while drinking a bottle of wine in a restaurant and you want to see what retail shops near your house carry it. Is there a way to use hashable to build a database of objects you want to “connect” to? Or are already connected because the restaurant, the wine shop and the winery all share an object (and a customer)?

      1. awaldstein

        I’ve done a lot of thinking about this from the wine side of the equation but also, recently, about using QR codes for general info as well in events and museums and city objects and the like.My thoughts on NYC’s use of QR codes in this post that touches on some of the other issues, including use in the wine biz…”QR codes bridging the public information gap in New York” @ http://bt.io/GmRMI'd be interesting in pursuing your train of thought with you and someone in the know from Hashable if there is interest from them post SXSW.

        1. Rocky Agrawal

          Have you tried using Google Goggles at MoMA? Really impressive. Because many of the images are in the DB, no QRbcodes required.

          1. awaldstein

            Nope…but I’ll check it out. MoMa is a hangout of mine. Thnx!

  5. andyswan

    When we first started mytrade in late 07, we thought we were going to try to compete with Yahoo Finance. That lasted for all of 2 months, when we caught OURSELVES typing finance.ya…..oh shit.Pivoted to making it about people sharing complex trades with each other….and things went better from there. πŸ™‚

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Your Blue Ocean strategy.

      1. andyswan

        Yep. We mapped the ocean before we pivoted that time. Always will in the future. Great great book and process.

      2. Mark Essel

        Blue ocean strategy struck me as deus ex machina.

        1. LIAD

          i thought the first half of blue ocean was great.

          1. Mark Essel

            I appreciated the message of isolating the features that are most important to customers and prioritizing products on those features, as well as the many case examples W. Chan Kin and Renee Mauborgne shared. I just didn’t like that the concept was pitched as a strategy to creativity. It’s a best practices book for product feature planning.Of course I still haven’t read the second half (no longer have the book). If a book doesn’t absolutely grab me in the first chapter or two I put it down and never feel a need to return. Far too much f’ing awesome content out there for me to consume, not enough hours in the day.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I read this book the first year it came out. I wonder how much influence it’s had on me – probably a lot. I don’t think I finished though either; Maybe it excited us all too much and got us to work? ;)It clicked-well with me though, and immediately.Your analysis of it being a best practices book for product feature planning though is dead-on. Much more helpful in that regard.

    2. fredwilson

      evan williams talks about the oh shit moment at odeo. can’t find the link. but its a similar feeling “what the hell are we doing here?”

  6. David Navarrete

    I’d be curious to know which members of his old team Mike kept..not necessarily names but job functions. Was it all engineers? Did the token office dog stay or get the boot?

    1. fredwilson

      not sure about the office dog

      1. skyrank

        Takes tremendous confidence to change direction and revamp such a big chunk of the team. I knew tracked pre-hashable and became an early user of hashable. I’m still a big user and think Mike’s done a great job executing with his team and striking a very accessible, hands-on tone with users. Emily, Teddy, Dave, Oz and the development team are all hyper-sensitive to the users’ likes and dislikes. I’ve learned a ton by being an active user of Hashable from Day 1, watching the “pick and rolls” of this tea and providing my feedback. It’s just been a great win so far for the team and the users and will be interesting to observe next moves.

        1. fredwilson

          I updated the post to include mention of Emily Teddy dave and oz. The pivotwould not have happened without them

    2. JimHirshfield

      I presented last week at the Stamford Tech Meetup where Hashable was one of the 3 companies on the docket. Their presenter was Jane Kim, @jinner13 – VP of Biz Dev, who was previously with Tracked. So, indeed, they kept on talent other than engineering. (yes, she’s talented – did a great job)

  7. LIAD

    Are there occasions post x pivots where investors just decide to close things down and disburse the cash left in the bank rather than allowing the company to take another swing?Are management normally understanding in these circumstances or does all shit break loose?

    1. fredwilson

      we don’twe are happy to let the entrepreneur use the cash they’ve raised to get somewhere, anywhere reallythe next round is always the issuewe have done the next round in every portfolio company other than delicious which was sold and wesabe where we did a bridge (not sure if you call that a next round)

  8. Justin Wohlstadter

    Nice post Fred. Hashable is awesome!(FYI – I think you linked to the wrong site for their web app).

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Yes, it seems to show the same link as for the Android app.

  9. RichardF

    now that is belief in a team.

    1. fredwilson

      yes it is but to Mike’s credit, he’s made people a lot of money over the years.

  10. Mwiya

    What’s their business model?

    1. fredwilson

      plenty of options, but that’s not the big issue right now. got to get the product market fit right and build a big user base first

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        ME, GRIMLOCK, LIKE MAKE MONEY FROM START. DUCT TAPE PROFIT ON LATER ALWAYS HARD, LOOK UGLY.BUT WHAT ME KNOW? YOU ROCKSTAR VC, ME JUST ROBOT DINOSAUR. ‘<

        1. fredwilson

          Yeah right. There’s a ton of wisdom in your robot brain

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            GRIMLOCK WORK FOR LOTS OF STARTUPS THAT DEAD NOW. GOOD AT LEARN FROM MISTAKES.

          2. markslater

            just spoke with the wife in grimlock speak….scary…

      2. Mwiya

        Awesome. Product-market fit first, scale and then make it rain πŸ˜‰ How early on did you actually invest in Hashable? Was it before or after their initial pivot? If it was after what about the company was it that was the deciding factor in actually going ahead with the investment? Was it the team or the product?

        1. fredwilson

          Before

  11. Mark Essel

    If anyone wants to track the Hashable public pipe (part of it), feel free to use a modified widget hack I put together on github, Track. Just swap SXSW with Hashable and it’ll update in real time.I just found out @kammerait met with Mike Yavo last night πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Felten

      Ha awesome @kammerait was at my event last night #smallworld #milwaukee

  12. Senith @ Finance Ttutor

    Sounds like linked in for the mobile world. But will need to try it out tobe sure!Linkedin has been slow to adapt to the mobile world. my even be a possible buyout opportunity for Linkedin??

    1. fredwilson

      Yes and also a linkedin based on who you meet vs who friends you online

      1. CJ

        A very important distinction when you’re tracking relationship strength.

        1. Douglas Crets

          You guys and Fred totally need to be on a education panel in august. Who is in?Douglas Crets CEO, dB C MediaNew York, New York+1 917 499 1993

          1. CJ

            I’m honored but I’m sure I don’t have anywhere near the experience needed to do such a thing…but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.

          2. Douglas Crets

            Please…. LolDouglas Crets CEO, dB C MediaNew York, New York+1 917 499 1993

  13. RichardF

    Downloaded it and like it a lot. Would like to have the option to attach a vcard with the “just met” email – There are plenty of people in corporate land that will not be dragged out of Exchange for a while yet and I’d like to be able to give them my full contact details using hashable in a way that they are used to.

    1. Tawheed Kader (TK)

      I think followups to #intros and #justmets is a whole another problem. We’ve been focusing on this with Tout (http://toutapp.com) which is a better e-mail client for entrepreneurs, marketers and PR people.You might find our E-Mail by SMS feature pretty helpful for following up with the peopel you #justmet: http://toutapp.com/guides/sms.

  14. rahuliffic

    I’m a fan of hashable and I’m impressed by how they built a buzz around their product. I am under the impression that they targeted influencers (those with a big twitter following for example) and sold them on the service. And I remember Mike Y referring to such sales events as “demo derbies.” Does this violate your marketing rule of thumb of not paying for customer acquisition during the initial stages? Curious to know how they got the buzz going.

  15. Renee

    I tried out Hashable after seeing them speak at the pre-SXSW meetup last week. It wasn’t immediately clear to me during their demo that it now defaults to private, and that hashtags don’t mean that you’re going to be advertising/spamming new contacts via twitter. I actually wrote a brief review of what I saw there (http://bit.ly/eIsKw9) , tweeted it, and got immediate feedback over twitter from @Mikeyavo. I kind of got the impression that I had made him angry when I expressed my privacy concerns, but was impressed that he took the time to clarify their new direction. After that conversation, it was clear that they had pivoted, but I think they could make the new direction clearer in demos, and maybe on their website. It’s a really interesting app; not many people in my circle are using it, and I haven’t had a chance to really appreciate the full social graph potential, but I expect that will change…I was at dinner on Friday night, met someone new, suggested Hashable for exchanging contact info, and he had also used it before. My favorite feature is the ability to tag where you’ve met a new contact, and search based on that tag. I’ve added people to my LinkedIn using that app, and then realized I’ve forgotten their name when I went to follow up.One feature I’d like to see is using bump or NFC to allow me to instantly exchange the contact info rather than typing in email/Twitter handle.

  16. Eroach

    I once had the pleasure of presenting in the same venue as Mike. The location was in NY at a kind of whole in the wall bar. The place had absolutely no internet connectivity and a crappy sound system to boot, a big surprise to all of us.I watched Mike push through a very tough presentation and I was very impressed by his tenacity and the maintainment of his focus. Imagine doing a live presentation with no internet.I believe investors invest in a team for just the case of a pivot. They have to know that not only will this person not quit, get crazy with someone else’s funds, or lock down to an idea come hell or high water, ultimately they have to know the person is both capable and smart enough to see around the corner and push through. Of course also having the cred to build a kick butt team only aids in all of the above.What I saw in that small glimpse that night watching Mike under trying circumstances, showed me very clearly why USV invested. Congrats Mike and Fred. I truly believe the sky is the limit!

    1. lawrence coburn

      Good story. Those bar pitches are trial by fire for sure. Awful audio, 60% of the crowd there to get drunk, spotty Internet. If you can pitch well there, you can pitch well anywhere.Mike must be formidable in a more controlled setting, like USV’s conference room.

  17. kirklove

    Been meaning to sign up. Thanks for the push. Will def try out at SXSW.

    1. Austin Clements

      Suster did a great interview with Yavonditte as well. It’s kinda long but there’s some great info in there. http://thisweekin.com/thisw

      1. JohnExley

        If you don’t have time to watch the video, I summarized Yavo’s interview for Mark and he published it last week on BSOTT: http://www.bothsidesoftheta

  18. John

    Does Hashable also incorporate where you were when you met them? What about what else you were doing (tweets, pictures, etc.)?

    1. Jesse Middleton

      Yes it does track location now (sort of). It can check you in to Foursquare from the app and you could include other information in the notes area.

  19. nakisnakis

    As an early adopter, and official SXSW Hashable Evangelist, I have been very impressed by the team’s customer service. This goes back to your post on marketing and your advice to startups to tune in to users and focus on their feedback, especially during the early days.Hashable has made me feel that they genuinely care about my feedback, even integrating a #languagematters suggestion I made regarding their automated copy. Emily et al changed the standard language in an email intro via their website from “Hi Guys” to “Hi there.” A small change with a big impact. Of course, as a startup I imagine it’s easier to be more connected and respond more quickly to users than when one becomes a much bigger company.My Hashable tip -> It’s easy to misplace and lose track of rain-checks. Hashable consolidates and retrieves my #postponed meetups, making it easier for me to reschedule.Hashable helps me track my interactions. In that sense, it didn’t stray that far from its predecessor’s name, Tracked.com. πŸ™‚

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I agree, Natalia. The customer service/responsiveness is fantastic — a small group of us (interestingly, all AVC regulars) were “talking amongst ourselves” on Twitter about Hashable a month or two ago and expressed some confusion. Next thing I knew, I had a tweet from Mike Yavonditte offering a tutorial!Also, the event (party) they held in Los Angeles was one of the best I’ve attended. Really well done and really fun!

  20. Greg Leman

    Now that tracked.com is in mothballs, are they interested in selling the code/data or exchanging it for equity in another startup?

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. Talk to @mikeyavo.

  21. Nick Grossman

    My favorite pivot-in-progress (both in terms of the team and how they’re doing it) is HireHive. They entered YC last year with an idea for a new kind of social job finding / matching application, based largely on video interviews.After building an app and learning about the space a bit more, they realized that they were slightly off the mark. So, they cut way back (for them, that meant time coding, not burn, since it’s just two of them) and decided to focus their efforts on really learning the recruiting space more.The result is Hackruiter, an analog matching service for a select group of NYC and SF startups and engineering talent. Nick and Dave are being straight-up recruiters for a while, focusing on a small subset of the industry where they are highly connected. With just a handful of traditional recruiting fees, they can sustain themselves while they wrap their heads around the space and get a better idea of where the ultimate right product might be.At the same time, they’re doing community projects such as linkedlistnyc.org (a hacker event newsletter) and Braindump NYC (a hacker how-to meetup), which produce value for the community while also building their network.Nick and Dave are two of the brightest guys I know, and I’m continually impressed that they have been able to find a way to buy themselves runway while they understand the space better, while at the same time providing a useful service and adding something valuable to the tech ecosystem.

    1. fredwilson

      +1

    2. CJ

      I’m impresses that they were able to pivot entire professions, from coders to recruiters. That’s huge and shows the versatility that’s necessary to succeed IMHO.

    3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      THIS 37SIGNALS MODEL. DO THING FOR MONEY, BUILD TOOL THAT MAKE THING EASIER, THEN SELL TOOL INSTEAD OF DO THING.IT ONE OF BEST WAYS TO DO IT.

  22. scyphers

    Here’s to hoping that Hashable breaks out of the NYC domain in which it seems to be occupying. I’ve just started using the Android Hashable app in the DC area, and most people look at me very strangely when I send my business card to them over Hashable.They do usually have a good response.

  23. Lucretia M Pruitt

    I love hashable. Have since I first logged in. Their team is tight and very focused. There is a weak link in the process though – me (or you if you’re like me at all.)Its hard to believe but I’ve become rather set in my ways when it comes to using Twitter. It may only be 4+ years old, but after 4 yrs, I have my own ingrained ways to use it. Altogether too often, I simply forget to hashtag something I’d actually want on hashable – but done is done and I’m not going to go back and be annoying by tweeting the same thing + the relevant hashtag.But I’m not a good baseline – so I’ll be watching closely to see if friends down at SXSW manage to overcome that “user issue” as well. Sometimes, we poor users can’t keep up with the pivots even when they are awesome ones like hashable. πŸ˜‰

    1. JohnExley

      Have you tried using Hashable’s app though, Lucretia? You don’t have to think of it as just ‘tracking hashtags on Twitter’…it’s a separate experience on mobile. After meeting someone, I have the interaction logged via Hashable’s Android app in like 1 minute tops.Still, see your point for sure!

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        FUTURE FOR HASHABLE IN APP. TWITTER JUST CONVENIENT TREE IT CLIMB BEFORE JUMP INTO AIR.

    1. fredwilson

      When is the book coming matt?

      1. mattb2518

        I just had a meeting about that this morning!

        1. ShanaC

          Yay

  24. optiquezt

    Fred, a few classmates of mine from Cornell went down to visit Hashable 2 weeks ago and heard that story from Ted Jawde. It was really inspiring.It would be interesting to see what kind of outcomes can be had from Tracked. It’s definitely a complete product. Maybe it can be spun out?

  25. reece

    I love what the Hashable team is up to and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the leader-board. ;)The app is really useful and is a behavior that will continue to exist long term. It’s simply taking an offline exchange and bringing it online – not trying to create new behavior.As tech makes this more and more seamless, Hashable is in a great spot. Excited for them at Sx.

  26. Shai Goldman

    I’ve been looking for personal CRM for many months and stumbled on Hashable late last year. The challenge I was facing was that I was having meaningful conversations on Twitter and was not able to track those conversations. My role at SVB is work with a lot of entrepreneurs and VCs, so keeping track of touch points is very valuable. I believe that Hashable can have a legit subscription revenue model, charging folks like me a few dollars per month. The added functionality that I would likely pay for is knowing how often I’ve connected with someone and Hashable reminding me on some regular basis that I haven’t caught up with someone in a while, which would trigger me to follow up with that person. In addition, one of the new YC companies, NoteLeaf, is providing business people a background on the people they are about to meet with, which allow them to prep for the meeting and has some topics for conversation. This could be a great feature for Hashable.On the topic of notable pivots, Chegg is probably one of the most successful ones in recent history. The started as a craigslist type site for college students and pivoted to online textbook rentals when they were short on cash and now they are killing it. Amazing story.

    1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      ADD FREEMIUM MODEL TO HASHABLE WORK, IF HASHABLE DO MORE TO MAKE TWITTER USEFUL.LONG AS TWITTER KEEP WITH STRATEGY OF BE PIPES, SELL NICE SINK GOOD IDEA.UNTIL TWITTER DECIDE TO BE SINK, TOO.

      1. JohnExley

        I’m not sure GRIMLOCK, I think Hashable is a standalone amazing product-in-the-making that will not rely on Twitter to be something I will use obsessively And eventually pay for. I’m thinking along the lines of the Facebook-commenter above: personal relationship management.I wouldn’t worry about “Twitter becoming the sink” is because I will get value out of Hashable more and more by using it with people who aren’t on Twitter. It may be my own personal experience, but “older” friends who are more traditional managers and executives that aren’t involved in the tech industry just don’t seem to be using Twitter. BUT – I’m willing to bet they would still benefit from using Hashable to track their relationships.***Here’s where Hashable becomes absolutely Fascinating to me: if they added a “tagging” layer…personal descriptions of people in your network. You know how you use tags to describe a bookmark on Delicious or a new blog post on WordPress, etc.? Have you ever scribbled notes on a business card right after meeting someone to try to help you remember who they are, where you met her/him, what you talked about, what they’re ‘good at’?I have.And going forward, I would LOVE to be able to #justmet someone, have the location layer stored and the date recorded, and then add a bunch of tags to describe the person. For example: #tennis, #engineer #developer #PHP #Python #french #glasses #Wharton #philly #philadelphia #MarchMadnessFanatic etc. etc. etc.Why?Because it makes it easier to ‘remember who I know’. Can’t tell ya how many times I’m stuck speechless when someone asks me something like… “hey man do you know any developers in Philly? Especially if they speak French?”. If I could then quickly open up Hashable on my phone and type the #developer, #philly, and #french tags into it – then have the app surface a few contacts that match that?Wow.Addiction. At that point, I would be using Hashable to better “categorize”, “index”, and “describe” my network on something like an hourly basis haha. That’s one of the directions I’m hoping Hashable goes in. Regardless, I’m ridiculously passionate about their mission.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          SEE OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT TWITTER = JUST WAY TO GAIN HEIGHT BEFORE FLY. YOU ON SAME PAGE AS GRIMLOCK.

          1. JohnExley

            Got it – AWESOME BABYp.s. hilarious (and simultaneously insightful) comments from you in here haha

          2. fredwilson

            and you don’t get this kind of thing with FB comments

  27. FAKE GRIMLOCK

    HASHABLE OK, NOT PERFECT. IT NOT FOLLOW ALL OF GRIMLOCK RULES FOR GOOD STARTUP.1. VIRAL – IT DO THIS.2. FOCUS ON CLIQUE – IT DO THIS, BUT THAT ALSO PROBLEM. SO FOCUSED ON EARLY ADOPTERS IN HOT CITIES, NOT USEFUL AT ALL ANYWHERE ELSE. ME, GRIMLOCK, TRY TO USE IN MIDWEST, BUT NEVER MEET OTHER 3 PEOPLE USING IT.3. WORK RIGHT – LOOK NICE, NOT BREAK. GOOD JOB.4. BOOTSTRAP – FAIL. NO BUSINESS MODEL. BAKE EGGS IN CAKE LOTS EASIER THAN ADD EGGS AFTER CAKE BAKED.5. MIRROR LIFE – THIS ALMOST THERE. IT MAKE SOMETHING HUMANS DO ANYWAY BETTER, BUT NOT ALIGN COMPLETELY YET. NEED MORE SMART UX THINKING.ME, GRIMLOCK, GIVE IT 60%. MAYBE CHANGE OPINION AFTER MOVE TO NEW CITY WITH MORE HASHABLE PEOPLE IN IT.

    1. William Mougayar

      GRIMLOCK, ME THINK- YOU, HILLARIOUS

    2. ShanaC

      You know, I suspect I know what city you are in…but not who you are

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        ME, GRIMLOCK, INTERNATIONAL DINO OF MYSTERY.

        1. ShanaC

          better than austin powers

        2. Emily Hickey

          Grimlock, I’ve been enjoying your comments here – thanks much! Btw I grew up in STL – proud Burroughs grad – go Cards πŸ™‚

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            YOU WELCOME.GOOD JOB ESCAPING CITY.ME, GRIMLOCK, DO SAME, JUST LIKE SNAKE PLISSKIN.

          2. Emily Hickey

            Ha, not much going on there these days, which actually bums me out a lot. If you ever make it to NYC look me up! (As a side note Snake Plisskin has been one of my most enduring crushes)

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            IT 60% LIKELY GRIMLOCK IN NY FOR VISIT IN NEAR FUTURE. IF THAT HAPPEN, WILL LOOK UP.

        3. Dave W Baldwin

          Had the feeling you weren’t far from me…have to tell you about the ridiculous trial I served jury duty on today down here in Cape County…definate redneck spoof.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ME LOVE REDNECKS. LIKE EAT WELL MARBLED COW, EXCEPT LESS SMART.

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            Trust me, if you could have seen the Asst. Prosecutor and Lawyer in action…cow smarter.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            FG — Are you a native of STL or a transplant? I grew up 1-1/2 hours from there (Southern Illinois) until my 9th birthday. My “California tan” is misleading — I am familiar with redneck ways. I’ve just learned over the years to cover them up — or at least I’d like to think so. πŸ˜‰

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            NOT NATIVE TO STL. FROM CYBERTRON.

      2. DGentry

        You deduced the city? I have no idea.

        1. ShanaC

          Through twitter – I have best guesses based on where technical talent is and some of his tweets

          1. DGentry

            I’ve followed the Twitter trail of destruction through San Francisco, Boulder, and Washington DC but haven’t figured out Grimlock’s home base. Well done.

          2. ShanaC

            there aren’t that many midwestern cities with a large base of people whocode – a lot of these cities are shrinking, so it created limited options

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            HURR HURR. CHECK TWEETS, GRIMLOCK NOT MAKE IT SECRET ME IN ST. LOUIS.FOR NOW. LEAVING SOON FOR UPGRADE.

      3. fredwilson

        i’m not the least bit interesting in finding out who grimlock isi like him just the way he is

        1. ShanaC

          me too – i do find it totally fascinating how much information people leakon the web, though.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            ME, GRIMLOCK, ALWAYS RELEASE THINGS ON PURPOSE.IT PART OF GAME. ‘<

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          THAT BIG COINCIDENCE!ME, GRIMLOCK, LIKE ME WAY ME AM TOO!NOT CHANGE FOR 60 MILLION YEARS, NO PLAN FOR CHANGE IN NEXT 60.

    3. Katie Felten

      #2 is happening I am in Milwaukee WI and hosted the hottest Hashable event yet last night and people in MKE are loving it, showing it in Chicago tonight and Columbus on Thursday .. its an app that will work anywhere

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        SEE OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT EVENTS.

    4. Mwiya

      Me think you talk like cookie monster lol.

      1. fredwilson

        that’s what i hear in my head when i read grimlock’s comments

      2. RichardF

        +1

    5. Accounting

      Accounting for most likes today! Way to go Fake Grimlock!

  28. William Mougayar

    What is the plan for Tracked? It had an ambitious goal, as does Hashable.

    1. fredwilson

      it needs a home

  29. FAKE GRIMLOCK

    BTW, ME, GRIMLOCK, VISIT ONE OF COMPANIES MENTIONED IN THIS POST RECENTLY. ME LET FRED GUESS WHICH. ‘<

    1. fredwilson

      either twitter or return path. i’m guessing return path

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        GRIMLOCK TALK TO BOTH. SEE ONE IN PERSON.

  30. Tawheed Kader (TK)

    I think the larger pattern here is when talented people (and teams) are working on one evasive problem and through their journey, trials, and experiences, they end up solving a completely different problem.This happened to me while I was working on a product called Braintrust — which was designed to kill e-mail. Eventually I learned that actually killing email communication is the wrong strategy, and then decided to “pivot” into building a better e-mail client called Tout (http://toutapp.com).Today, Tout is simple and focuses on the day to day repetitive emails you send, but I can easily see how eventually Tout can start to get an inbox and start to implement a lot more of what I learned about group e-mail threads from building Braintrust (the group communication tool).As entrepreneurs, it is important to not be married to the product idea itself, but rather be married to the problem(s) you are trying to solve.

  31. Fred Destin

    SXSW launch ! Ballsy !

  32. ShanaC

    The one thing that I see as important, and which leads me to tentatively use hashable – business card passing in the age of “my information is always changing, and there is no such thing as the man in the grey suit”Linkedin doesn’t cut it. Hashable works as a good personal business crm.

  33. CJ

    I love Tracked, we’re working on something in a similar vein internally for our business and I pointed the dev team to Tracked as an example of how do what we wanted to do that had already been done. Now, ironically, these same guys have created Hashable which is another problem we’re struggling with internally – how to track business relationships on an individual and corporate level, all the way down to the phone call or email. We’ve got some cultural limitations to overcome (sales guys hate sharing their Rolodex, even if it’s for the good of the company) but this is another example of how to do it right. Maybe I should just recommend we buy these guys and save ourselves a few product development cycles.

    1. fredwilson

      what else do you need solved?

      1. CJ

        Push notifications. LOL Seriously, this has been a good idea week for me. Thanks Fred :-)If Joe has coffee with Bill from Client A and logs it, anyone else who is attached to Client A or Bill internally should get a Push Notification. A lot of what gets in the way of sales is not having the information readily available and that would fix that instantly. Compartmentalization kills us here occasionally and this would help us fix that.

        1. Teddy

          Hey Malcolm,We just launched push notifications today. We’ve been playing around with it for a few weeks now internally and it has been really informative to see who my close colleagues, or what we calling your “inner circle” on Hashable, are connecting with. Check it out on the iPhone (should be on Android in a day or so).I’ve met so many awesome people because of Hashable. Would love to meet you in person to hear what you think about our push notifications Malcolm.

          1. CJ

            Thanks Teddy, I’m on Android so I’ll check it out as soon as it comes. I’ve already sent this up the chain internally to the CTO and VP of Development. Not sure where that will go but since we’ve been struggling with the problem, hopefully somewhere. I remember that they were quite found of Tracked.com too so that’s a good point too.I’d love to meet you and tell you! The next time I’m in the NYC area I’ll hit you up, see if schedules work out.

          2. fredwilson

            Push is huuuge. I’ve been saying that loudly on this blog lately

    2. William Mougayar

      Hi Malcolm, Re: your need for Tracked-like features, pls let me know if I can help. We do news personalization really well (Eqentia). william– at eqentia . com

  34. Marcel Weiss

    It’s a shame Tracked.com never got traction. I love it and still use it. I think they should have done more with the newsfeed of the tracker. It doesn’t auto-update for example. If it would I’d have tracked.com open here all day.

  35. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    Ah, I see – you’re asking me to use an application you’ve got an investment in. Thanks for clarifying that. πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      i do that a lot here. hope you understand that is part of what goes on at AVC. not the main event, but certainly part of the experience

      1. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

        Yes, I understand that. I think FAKEGRIMLOCK had it right about the business model, though. I’m personally tired of “free tools to make my geekish life better.” The game has changed, and I think you know it better than I do.I want to know *what* a service is selling and to *whom* out of the box! I’m not willing to accept a “free service” and then find that I’m unable to delete my data *when* – not if, *when* – they turn against me like Facebook did.That’s why I’m such a huge fan of LinkedIn. It’s crystal clear what business they’re in, what the rules are, who you’re dealing with, and so on. And it’s been that way from day one! I can’t wait for them to go public so I can buy shares in a solid Internet business.

        1. fredwilson

          if you bake the business model in day one, you might miss a much biggeropportunity

          1. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

            The South Sea Bubble “For carrying-on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is!!” http://meb.tw/fPKT09

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            IT NOT HARDER TO CHANGE MODEL THAN ADD ONE.

  36. Emily Hickey

    Thanks for this awesome post Fred! And to everyone for such terrific comments. This has been such a fun and helpful discussion to read.There is so much to share about the pivot – probably a lot of universal experiences accumulated in the several months that it initially involved – which makes it so much fun to talk to other entrepreneurs about. We’ve talked to lots of people in person through Meetups etc but haven’t really gone on record about the details – maybe in part because it is still playing out – still so much self-discovery going on. That said, these are a few points that really stick out in my head from the process: 1. Living with Ambiguity – You always hear people talking about pivots and it sounds like such a tidy process – ‘we were doing this, then we decided to do that.’ Our experience was lots muddier than that – Teddy, Dave and I spent a solid few months with Yavo staring at Tracked starting last January, working on a whole slate of ideas. We could have turned it into a wiki, localized it, tried tacking on a bunch of social features. We actually were headed in that direction fairly decisively for a while – but for various reasons (including USV counseling sessions πŸ™‚ – in April we decided to narrow down to a couple of key features and launch them as a separate site, which became Hashable. So there were several months of concepting and guessing, and in some ways we are still at it. Definitely not a clean cut process!2. Awesome Investors – from what I understand, Yavo had basically hand-picked his Tracked investors and really he did an ace job (young founders, hit Mike up for advice!). USV – Brad, Fred – and several of the angels (especially Doug Chertok and John Frankel) were very present and involved and incredibly supportive and patient and helpful. A very mature, steady set of investors who are deep thinkers and observers in the space. ‘Don’t be afraid to change everything’ was a refrain from all angles. The level of patience & quality of advice were really pretty shocking, at least based on my past experiences with investors, which maybe don’t offer a fair comparison. But I was blown away – USV is just total varsity and it has been a pleasure and honor working with them on this. I can’t imagine going through this with less experienced, cool, creative and thoughtful investors.3. Awesome Friends & Users – One thing that blows me away nowadays is when you meet founders ‘in stealth.’ I was having a lot of lunches and breakfasts at the time (now #lunches and #breakfasts πŸ™‚ – and deep conversations with people like Vin Vacanti, Dave Whittemore – just smart product & founder friends – really contributed to our thinking. And then when we launched, getting feedback from our first power users like Trevor Owens, Justin Wohlstadter and many others – was critical. I can’t imagine ‘finding’ a product just on your own in the lab. This was and continues to be a very collaborative process across many friends & users. We’ve been so grateful for all the help and shared passion around the idea along the way.4. Quick Iterations – because it’s ambiguous and you’re trying to define something as you go – really critical to iterate it quickly. We’ve been very dedicated to establishing product/market fit, from the start, as basically our marketing plan. We set out to build something viral. The first build we did in 4 weeks – very quick – and we’ve released almost weekly since then. As Fred mentioned, it probably should have been mobile-first. At any rate, just think it’s very important to get something out fast and start reacting. Here is a post about our beta process and how we’ve tried to use it to find PMF: http://www.earlystager.com/…Thanks again Fred for this great post and to you and Brad for being so awesome all along – and to the AVC community for the great discussion.Oh and a couple replies to comments – on the events front – def think there is a big marketing opp there, not necessarily on revenue front but marketing/usage – and yes think this is a v natural fit for a Meetup partnership. And lastly – not sure why people thought the demo derby was expensive – in fact it was costless, as was our entire launch. The first marketing spend will be SXSW. Demo derbies just consisted of bringing our NY tech friends into the office in small groups to show them in person what we were doing, and create a community and family around the company – and get the Twitter pollination going – just cost us some time, and some Coke Zeros!Emily

    1. zackmansfield

      been fun to watch the maturation and growth of hashable. I have to admit, at first I was a little annoyed seeing so many random #meetingswithcoolkids in my twitter stream but it piqued the interest in hashable. And now i’m using it daily to keep track of meetings and intros – the value prop of “who’s actually meeting with whom” and the level of connection data is super interesting. Game dynamics are not what keeps me going but are curiosities (have to say I was proud to crack the top 100 this month)One a product related note – would be great to be able to “connect the dots” within the service for people who you meet with…by this I mean, I may post #beers with @twitteruser – and then 2 days later post #coffee with [email protected] – but those (the twitter handle and email address) aren’t necessarily connected so it looks like two distinct people within hashable. Not mission critical, but in terms of judging relationship strength, can be useful (especially when meeting with people who aren’t active twitter users)

      1. Emily Hickey

        Zack thanks that is great feedback – really appreciate it – and thanks for the support & usage! The ‘connect-the-dots’ issue if I’m understanding you – is an issue with your friend – if he/she creates an account and associates the email and twitter handle to that account – it should all connect. And yes – the leaderboard although limited probably is a lot of fun and I think can develop into some pretty powerful community directories – all along we have wanted to ‘get rid of the dark matter’ that still surrounds us all even x years into social networking – and all of this goes in that direction. It will be a lot of fun to play with! btw if you ever want to send feedback directly pls do – i’m emily_at_hashable – see you around town i hope!

    2. fredwilson

      thanks so much for this comment Emilyit adds so much to the storyi probably should have interviewed the team prior to writing this post butmy motto in blogging is “fire, ready, aim, fix”

      1. Emily Hickey

        Ha fair enough! :)Thank you Fred and also for the follow that meant a lot

      2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        THAT GOOD MOTTO FOR STARTUPS TOO. THIS NOT COINCIDENCE.

      3. Florian Feder

        “fire, ready, aim, fix” seems to be what distinguishes blogging from writing.

    3. FAKE GRIMLOCK

      THERE DEEPER DISCUSSION FOR HASHABLE+EVENTS.THAT SPACE ME, GRIMLOCK, KNOW THING OR TWO ABOUT.

      1. Emily Hickey

        Would love your thoughts!

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          SEND EMAIL IN DM TO GRIMLOCK, US HAVE CHAT.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Great to hear more of the story, Emily. I’ve had this feeling all along that there is something special about Hashable — maybe it’s the team.For some reason it escaped me until just a few weeks ago that this is a USV investment. That explains a lot as well.Also impressed that the company has a CMO!

      1. Emily Hickey

        Donna thanks! We’re very passionate about it and are excited to bring more of the vision to light. Thank you for your support and excitement!

    5. giffc

      The team has done a great job so far Emily. While I’m still investing time and data in the Hashable app for the “personal CRM” promise, the current version does already have some very helpful qualities. I’m trying to be patient for the features I want to see, and hope you guys can resist the “social social social” drumbeat to deliver something that really powers a business user. Rock on and kick ass at SXSW.

      1. Emily Hickey

        Giff thanks – you’ve been one of the key users helping to shine the light in the cave – have a new homepage to run past you btw πŸ™‚ Thanks for the support!

  37. Douglas Crets

    The whole point about social web and social phone use is that when you meet someone in person, you extend the impact of that meeting into your network. Nobody acts alone. I believe the days of working hard and long on your own are over. It’s now a micro-local and multiple connections world, and your brain power is actually more like “cloud power,” to borrow a phrase. People will slowly get used to the idea that when you are talking to one person, you are really talking to many, plus their search key words. Every conversation can be a potential startup company.

  38. mdudas

    Did the folks who were cut during the pivot land OK? How did Mike and the investors support them? Always interested in best practices here. Joining a startup as a non-founder is very risky. I’ve seen quite a few pivot and cuts recently even in this frothy environment.

  39. Mike

    Fred, for a person that have a disdain for marketing, you have been promoting/marketing the heck out of your portfolio companies lately.

    1. fredwilson

      And friends books (see today’s post)I don’t disdain marketing. I disdain bad and old school marketing

  40. kidmercury

    i thought i would share my experience with this app, because i see the potential for something great here, but i found the experience a bit frustrating.namely, i have trouble understanding how to use it — i think this is both a technical and a marketing issue. also, registering was a bit of a pain. filling out forms on a mobile sucks.i have trouble with a lot of mobile apps. the ones natively installed that automatically know who i am (no registration required) are the only ones i really end up using (except kindle which i sometimes use, although it is a battery killer). i even had trouble with foursquare.i think because screen real estate is so precious in the mobile environment, app designers could benefit greatly if they knew the exact screen type their app would be used on.

    1. Teddy

      Thanks for your comment kidmercury. We’ve heard similar feedback and are working to get the product right.For example, in the latest version of the iPhone and Android apps, the signup is minimal and done natively, so it’s much easier. Hope to win you over soon.

  41. GSMPedia

    Reading this really made me want to try it, unfotunately no symbian support πŸ™

  42. kenberger

    Rob Mee sure was visionary when he named his company “Pivotal”.That word is so operative today.

  43. kenberger

    “Hashable started out as Tracked.com”– I remember it being called rakedin.com or maybe upcompany when a Sand Hill vc introed me to them in early ’09. Maybe that’s the former stealth url you had referred to in a previous post about them.

  44. William Mougayar

    Hashable has an opportunity to become a business/social Relationship Manager. Until then, it’s works-in-progress.I just found the Search function on Hashable and it’s great. Lets me discover people with interests I want to connect with in a light weight manner.Could Hashable import my LinkedIn/FB contacts and map the relationships for me, and allow me to keep/reject individual ones. Then I want to browse people’s connections from then on, via Hashable, and connect with them.

  45. Scott Nixon

    I attended the NYTech Meetup when Hashable presented as always I take notes to review the companies later once I’m less pumped up. When reviewing the site later the idea just didn’t seem that interesting. I did not create an account. Which in my opinion is bad because I’ll create an account for anything that looks interesting.After reviewing the application I can see there is much more substance now. And they now have my interest. I think the splash page “value proposition” is very weak. “A Fun & Useful Way to Track Your Relationships” Isn’t this what I do on LinkedIn and Facebook?

  46. fredwilson

    just a little bit